Stokes nominated for New Zealander of the Year
He broke the hearts of a nation with his World Cup feats for England, now Ben Stokes has been nominated for New Zealander of the Year
AAP & Cricket Network
19 July 2019, 03:10 PM AEST
Ben Stokes, who broke Black Caps hearts in the World Cup final, has been nominated for New Zealander of the Year.
Read that sentence again and let it sink in.
Stokes was born in New Zealand but moved to the UK with his family at the age of 12 when his father Gerard, who played rugby league for New Zealand, was coaching in England. Stokes has remained in the UK since, although his parents have returned home and now live in the South Island city of Christchurch.
On Friday, it was revealed that Stokes has been nominated for the prestigious Kiwi honour along with New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who this week was named Player of the Tournament at the World Cup.
New Zealander of the Year chief judge Cameron Bennett said Stokes "might not have been playing for the Black Caps but, having been born in Christchurch where his parents now live and with Maori ancestry, there's clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim him".
Bennett added that the way Williamson conducted himself in the face of devastating disappointment in the final and throughout the World Cup resonated with Kiwis.
"He's been the embodiment of the qualities we cherish as New Zealanders - courage, fairness, humility," he said.
The website for the New Zealander of the Year states those suitable to win the award “make a significant contribution to our nation and make us proud of our country”. Nominations are open to members of the public.
Previous winners include philanthropist in the aged-care sector Kristine Bartlett, filmmaker Taika Waititi and former All Blacks captain Ritchie McCaw.
Stokes' match-winning innings of 84 at Lord's allowed the hosts to tie New Zealand's score of 8-241 before he helped the home team prevail after a tie-breaking Super Over, in which both teams scored 15 runs.
Stokes was also involved in a bizarre twist late in the match when a throw from the boundary that was headed for the wicketkeeper ricocheted off his bat and went for four. Six runs were awarded to the batting side before they were eventually were crowned champions on a countback because they hit more boundaries during the match.
While it’s hard to believe this nomination would sit well with most everyday Kiwis, Stokes has received plenty of praise from high places since his World Cup winning feats.
Both men in the running to be the next British prime minister have given firm yeses to the prospect of awarding Stokes a knighthood, should they be given the chance.
"I will give dukedoms, whatever – I will go to the maximum, to, what, the Garter King of Arms. Yes is the answer, absolutely," frontrunner Boris Johnson said this week
Should Stokes add New Zealander of the Year to his list of accolades in February, he’ll need to find time to travel back to his birthplace to accept the award during England’s tour of South Africa.